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What do people post about online? Aren’t they talking about the places they visited, the things they bought, the restaurants they tried, and the services they availed? Aren’t they gushing about this new boba tea shop in town or a dentist they recently had an appointment with? People are always talking about products and services. That alone should tell you why your dental patient marketing should include user-generated content.

UGC refers to content produced by customers based on products and services they either love or hate. They talk about these products and services on different channels online. Sometimes, you’ll find a lengthy complaint about a business on Facebook. You can also get a snippet of a reaction on Twitter about a new coffee shop they “discovered” in town. On Instagram, people post photos, videos, and stories about their experiences.

Technology has never been as friendly as it is today. This means that anyone can use these different social media platforms to air their grievances about a company or praise its products and services. That’s why UGC has become a paramount marketing strategy. Potential patients are specifically looking for what your past patients have to say about your dental practice—from the appointment process to the actual procedure. They want to know if you deserve their time and money.

So, as a dentist, what kind of UGC should you be posting on your website? More importantly, how can you make your patients talk about your dental practice online?

Before you integrate UGC into your website, you have to convince your patients first to write or post about you on their social media feeds. Once they have done that—posted a photo, video, or short post—you can then ask them if you can integrate that particular post into your website or share it on your social media page.

Continue doing it until you have amassed several reviews and social networks. Prospective patients are going to be attracted to your page and website. They will read about these reviews and will hopefully realize you’re the right dentist for them.

Such is the power of user-generated content. With hundreds of millions of active users, social media will play an important role in collecting and sharing this content. Think about UGC this way: it’s basically word-of-mouth recommendation but in digital form. It’s also probably the most important development in dental patient marketing in the past decade.